Program Notes

Each week, thousands of San Francisco Symphony concert-goers open their programs to read about the drama, the passion, and the inspiration behind the music they’re hearing. You can read our critically acclaimed program notes online one week prior to select concerts. 

Abbasi, Anahita: . . . within the shifting grounds . . .


András Schiff in Recital, April 15

András Schiff in Recital, April 17

Bach, J.S.: Christmas Oratorio, BWV 248

Bach, J.S.: Concerto in C minor for Oboe and Violin

Bach, J.S.: Goldberg Variations for organ

Bach, J.S.: Sonatas and Partitas for Solo Violin, BWV 1003-1006

Bartók: Concerto No. 2 for Piano and Orchestra


Beethoven: Finale: Ode, "To Joy" from Symphony No. 9

Beethoven: Leonore Overture No. 3, Opus 72a

Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 3

Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 5, Opus 73, Emperor

Beethoven: Symphony No. 3, Eroica

Beethoven: Symphony No. 6, Pastoral

Beethoven: Symphony No. 7

Beethoven: Violin Concerto in D major, Opus 61

Berg: Violin Concerto

Berlioz: Symphonie fantastique (Fantastic Symphony: Episode in the Life of an Artist, in Five Parts), Opus 14

Bernstein: Arias and Barcarolles

Bernstein: Candide

Bernstein: Chichester Psalms

Bernstein: Divertimento

Bernstein: Prelude, Fugue, and Riffs

Bernstein: Serenade

Bernstein: Symphonic Dances from West Side Story

Bernstein: The Age of Anxiety, Symphony No. 2

Bernstein: West Side Story

Brahms: Piano Concerto No. 1

Brahms: Symphony No. 4 in E minor, Opus 98

Brahms: Trio No. 2 in C major for Violin, Cello, and Piano, Opus 87

Brahms: Violin Concerto

Bruch: Concerto in A-flat minor for Two Pianos and Orchestra, Opus 88a

Burritt, Michael: Fandango 13

Chamber Music at the Gunn Theater at the Palace of Legion of Honor, February 18

Chamber Music at the Gunn Theater at the Palace of Legion of Honor, May 13

Chamber Music with Members of the SFS (Oct 29)

Chamber Music: Dvořák Piano Trio and More

Chamber Music: Dvořák String Quartet and More

Chamber Music: Mozart and Bartók

Chamber Music: Tchaikovsky, Janáček, and More

Chen, Qigang: Luan Tan, Variations for Orchestra 

Concerto No. 1 in D minor for Piano and Orchestra, Opus 15

Concerto No. 1 in D minor for Piano and Orchestra, Opus 15

Connesson, Guillaume: E chiaro nella valle il fiume appare

Copland: Music from the Film Our Town

Copland: Third Symphony

Copland: Fanfare for the Common Man

Dean, Brett: Engelsflügel

Debussy (orch. by Ravel): Sarabande and Danse 

Debussy: Petite Suite

Dvořák: Carnival Overture, Opus 92

Dvořák: Cello Concerto in B minor

Dvořák: The American Flag, Opus 102

Elgar: Enigma Variations

Fauré: Suite from Pelléas et Mélisande

Gabrieli: Canzon septimi toni à 8 and Sonata pian’ e forte

George Li in Recital

Gershwin: An American in Paris

Gershwin: Rhapsody in Blue

Glanert, Detlev: Prelude No.1, from Three American Preludes

Halloween with Young Frankenstein and Featuring Anderson & Roe

Handel: Messiah

Harrison: Concerto for Pipa with String Orchestra

Haydn: Cello Concerto No. 1

Haydn: Symphony No. 102 in B-flat major

Holiday Brass

Holst: The Planets

Home Alone

Ibert: Escales

Ives: Psalm 90

Ives: Symphony No. 3, The Camp Meeting

Ives: Symphony No. 4

Janáček: Taras Bulba, Rhapsody for Orchestra



Ligeti: Concert Românesc

Liszt: Piano Concerto No. 2

Lunar New Year Celebration

Lutosławski: Concerto for Orchestra

MAHLER: Symphony No. 3 in D minor

Mahler: Symphony No. 4 

Mahler: Symphony No. 5

Masters of the Romantic: Trifonov Plays Chopin

Mendelssohn: Trio No. 2 in C minor for Violin, Cello, and Piano, Opus 66

Mendelssohn: Violin Concerto in E minor

Meyer, Edgar: Overture for Violin and Orchestra

Mozart: Concerto No. 4 in D major for Violin and Orchestra, K.218

Mozart: Exsultate, jubilate, K.165(158a)

Mozart: Overture to The Magic Flute

Mozart: Piano Concerto No. 14 in E-flat major, K.449

Mozart: Piano Concerto No. 17 in G major, K.453

Mozart: Six German Dances, K.509

Mozart: Symphony No. 40 

Mozart: Symphony No. 36 in C major, K.425, Linz

Music for Families: Music Around the World—Asia

Music for Families: Stringing it All Together

Music for Families: the Bold and the Brave

Music for Families: Work Hard, Play Hard—The Lives of Composers and Conductors


Norman, Andrew: Unstuck

North by Northwest


Organist Nathan Laube Performs Bach and More

Paul Jacobs Plays Bach

Penderecki, Krzysztof: Threnody for the Victims of Hiroshima

Peter and the Wolf

Pozansky: Footnote, Suite for Orchestra

Prokofiev: Piano Concerto No. 3

Prokofiev: Symphony No. 3


Rachmaninoff: Piano Concerto No. 2

Rachmaninoff: Symphonic Dances

Ravel: Daphnis et Chloé

Ravel: Shéhérazade

Respighi: Fountains of Rome

Respighi: Pines of Rome

Ruggles: Angels for Muted Brass

Saint-Saëns: Cello Concerto No. 1

Salonen, Esa-Pekka: Helix

San Francisco Symphony Chorus: J.S. Bach's Magnificat

Schoenberg: Piano Concerto, Opus 42

Schubert: Symphony in C major, D.944, The Great

Schubert: Trio in B-flat major for Violin, Cello, and Piano, D.898


Shostakovich: Symphony No. 1 in F minor

Shostakovich: Symphony No. 10

Shostakovich: Symphony No. 5

Shostakovich: Trio No. 2 in E minor for Violin, Cello, and Piano, Opus 67

Shostakovich: Violin Concerto No. 2

Sibelius: Finlandia 



Sibelius: Violin Concerto

Smetana: Vltava from Má Vlast

Stenhammar: Symphony No. 2 in G minor, Opus 34 

Strauss, R.: An Alpine Symphony

Strauss, R.: Ein Heldenleben

Strauss, R.: Serenade in E-flat major, Opus 7

Strauss, R.: Till Eulenspiegel's Merry Pranks, Opus 28

Stravinsky: Petrushka

Stravinsky: The Firebird

Stravinsky: The Rite of Spring

Taneyev: Oresteia Overture, Trilogy of Aeschylus, Opus 6

Tchaikovsky: Finale: Allegro con fuoco from Symphony No. 4

Tchaikovsky: Serenade for Strings

Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 2 in C minor, Opus 17, Little Russian


Tippett: Ritual Dances from The Midsummer Marriage

Trifonov and Babayan in Recital

Wagner: Siegfried’s Rhine Journey, from Götterdämmerung

Wuorinen, Charles: Sudden Changes

Yefim Bronfman in Recital

Young Frankenstein